On Merchandising: Entice Visually on Your Site

Use great photography to merchandise right on the Web.

BY Sally Furrer

Published in the March 2012 issue

Use great photography to merchandise right on the Web.

When I start working with a client one of the first things I do is look at their website. I am hoping to get a feel for the range of products, what lines/designers they carry, what their store looks like, what services they provide and their company philosophy. Usually, I am disappointed.

There are many aspects to a great website, and I don't claim to be a website expert. But I do have some thoughts on how it should be merchandised and what it takes to entice and excite a jewelry shopper visually.

The most cost-effective way to show a robust array of product is to link to a designer or vendor's website. Many of these are now constructed so that your prospective client never leaves your website and the transition is seamless.

If you don't carry branded product, you will need to invest in photographing a representation of each of your collections or product categories. I recommend professional group shots (or hero shots) that will make your prospective clients want to see more.

Almost as important as the styling of the jewelry presented, is the quality of the images. This sounds pretty elementary, but it is not, based on what I see out there.

Here are a few tips:

  • Do not be tempted to use vendor images -- inconsistencies include: different color  backgrounds, different viewing angles, different quality of the image.
  • Every image needs extensive retouching. Improperly retouched images can show porosity and manufacturing imperfections.
  • Make sure that the diamonds are crisp (especially the melee, which can look dead and "frosty") and have some dispersive colors like red, blue and yellow.
  • The metal needs to be highly reflective looking, with a feeling of depth and dimension. It should almost glow.
  • Colored gemstones need to be true to color.
  • Jewelry needs to be viewed from multiple angles -- I especially like an animated rotation.
  • Have zoom functionality to view and appreciate the details of a piece.

Many jewelers spend significant money on their showcases, lighting, displays -- all with the goal of enhancing and presenting their jewelry at its best. This philosophy needs to be extended to your website. If you treat your website like an afterthought, it will look that way.

The food industry does an amazing job of producing images that literally make your mouth water — we, as jewelers, need to do the same thing with our beautiful jewelry!

Learn Sally Furrer’s inventory secrets in her appearances at The SMART Jewelry Show April 21-23 in Chicago. (Conference begins April 20.)